Charles Joly recently departed the Aviary, but he wowed us earlier this year with his inventive take on the Jungle Bird, a tiki classic. With layers of pineapple-lime syrup, Campari mixed with spherified rum balls, Caña Brava rum and Gosling’s rum, the drink was as striking as it was delicious. $28.
A trio of rums combine with rice and almond water, cream and orange flower water for a boozy version of the taqueria staple. $13.
Barkeep Alex Bachman begged us not to think of this savory tomato cocktail as a Bloody Mary, and how could we? With tomato water, lime, miso, ramp bitters, caraway liqueur and tequila-like Bacanora, Bloody Marys wish they could be this elegant. No longer available.
A liqueur that tastes like a Kringle could only come from our wonderful neighbor to the north. Luckily, Wisconsin shares this rum-based liqueur with us, and it’s ideal slipped into coffee. $19.99.
This new brewery has fast become one of our favorites, in part for this wheat beer, which is gingery and herbal, with a hint of lime. $10.99/four-pack.
On the next warm day, beeline for Kung Fu Tea and order this bright, fruity and refreshing slushie. $4.25/$5.
Lone Wolf is Randolph Row’s best spot for a pre-dinner drink or nightcap, and there’s no better way to end your evening than with Stephen Cole’s Girolamo Sour, a frothy, lightly bitter mix of Luxardo Amaro Abano, Luxardo bitters, lemon, simple syrup and egg white. $12.
With Monte Alban Mezcal Joven, 1800 Reposado Tequila 100, lime juice and spicy simple syrup, this margarita is spicy, smoky and oh, so good. $10.
Jared Rouben uses chef techniques to brew “culinary beers,” so it’s no surprise this clean, lightly herbal beer works so well with food—we’ve had it with cheeseburgers, roasted chicken and salads. Price varies by bar.
It’s hard to pick a favorite beer from newcomer Off Color Brewing, but this gose, which combines a sour beer with a wheat beer, is just the kind of perfectly structured brew we’ve come to expect from this brewery. $9.99/six-pack.
The Logan Square juicer’s best bottle is this simple combination of tomato and salt, which tastes like biting into the ripe summer fruit. $9.
A big bouquet of mint and a pair of amari lend bright herbal notes to this genever-based cocktail. $9.
The only thing better than the taxidermy décor and checkerboard tables at Sportsman’s Club is the amaro shot, an ever-changing bittersweet blend of several amari, (like Cynar, Fernet-Branca, Averna and Cocchi Rosa) that goes down way too easy. $4.
Our beer of the summer? This pineapple-laced blonde ale sipped straight from an ice-cold can. $9.99/six-pack.
Coffee Island sounds like a lovely place to be shipwrecked, especially if you also have funky Hamilton Jamaican Pot Still Rum, Mt. Gay Black Barrel Rum, Stumptown cold brew coffee, salt-roasted plantains, PX sherry, mole bitters and cinnamon so you can make this drink. $12.
Could there possibly be a more Chicago drink than a Malört-spiked Manhattan that smells exactly like deep dish pizza? It’s practically your civic duty to drink this while snacking on the oregano oil–spritzed crisp that accompanies the cocktail. $13.
Order this drink and a bartender will wheel over a cart and stir your choice of six whiskies (we chose Oban 14-year Scotch) with bitters, Carpano Antica vermouth and Benedictine, then garnish it with a skewer of brandied cherries. Technically a Bobby Burns, this drink is perfectly balanced with a presentation straight out of Mad Men. $30.
Concord grapes from Michigan’s Mick Klug Farm turn this basic Small’s Gin gimlet into a lovely autumnal cocktail. Seasonal.
Creamy and refreshing, this summery tequila, coconut milk, cucumber and salt cocktail is so good it’s stuck around well after the temperatures dropped. $8.
The star of former bar director Paul McGee’s second cocktail menu, Dead Reckoning turns to Armagnac, port and vanilla to add depth to the mix of aged Jamaican rum, pineapple, lemon and angostura bitters. $13.